Local & Regional

 

 Authorities are investigating after sheriff's deputies fatally shot an Arkansas man who reportedly opened fire on a sheriff in southeastern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says the shooting happened Sunday near the town of Tom, about 200 miles southeast of Oklahoma City and near the state's borders with Arkansas and Texas. According to the OSBI, deputies with the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office fatally shot 32-year-old Devin Hawkins after Hawkins pointed a gun and fired once at the sheriff.

 

A troubled Tulsa group home for abused and neglected children is preparing to close.

Tulsa World reports Realation Group Home's owner Mark Jackson notified the Oklahoma Department of Human Services on Friday that it plans to terminate its contract and close June 30.

The department stopped placing children at the facility while it investigated the death of an 11-year-old boy who ran away from the facility and was fatally struck by a vehicle in December. Another 11-year-old child died in traffic after fleeing the group home in April 2013.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

 

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says the state's Emergency Price Stabilization Act is in effect in all 77 counties after severe storms prompted Gov. Mary Fallin's to issue a statewide emergency declaration.

Hunter said Monday the price-gouging statute prohibits increases of more than 10 percent for the price of goods and services following an emergency declaration. It also allows the attorney general to file charges against those engaged in price gouging.

Water Weight Causes Roof to Collapse

May 1, 2017
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No injuries are reported as the roof collapses on a furniture store in the town of Pawnee. Police say the collapse was noticed about 3 a.m. on Monday.

The Spears Furniture store is near the downtown square. Police believe the collapse was caused by water that collected on the roof. The added weight caused the roof to cave. No damage estimate is available at this time.

In the local news:

  • Higher Education braces for bigger cuts ahead.
  • Flooding causes problems across eastern Oklahoma.
  • An Oklahoma U.S. Senator rates Donald Trump's first 100-Days in office

KWGS News-File photo

Tulsa Police are investigating after a body is discovered in north Tulsa. The discovery was made early yesterday afternoon.

The man's body was found in a trailer near Archer and North Erie Place. That would be near Admiral and Yale.

Police have not said how the man died.

Google Street View

 

The body of a third victim of a boating accident has been recovered from the Arkansas River in eastern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the body of 22-year-old Kristy Farhat of Dora was found Saturday in the river just west of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The OHP says Farhart was in a boat with her husband, William Farhart, a 6-year-old boy and a 4-year-old boy when the boat's motor stopped and it was pulled into the flood gates of a dam on the river.

Oklahoma Emergency Management

 

Severe storms brought a possible tornado and flooding to eastern Oklahoma and more than a foot of snow to the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Oklahoma Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman Keli Cain said Sunday that a tornado was reported near Sallisaw in eastern Oklahoma. There was also damage reported in the Oklahoma City Metro.

About 15 inches of snow is reported in Cimarron County in the Panhandle.

Cain said three minor injuries were reported.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

 

Flooding was reported Sunday along the Illinois River in northeastern Oklahoma and many roads were closed while roads were also closed in the Panhandle because of the snow.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric and Public Service Company of Oklahoma reported about 1,800 power outages, nearly half of those in Oklahoma City where winds toppled a 70-foot arch at the state fairgrounds.

Scanning License Plates Is Latest Revenue-Boosting Move by DAs

Apr 30, 2017
Oklahoma City Police

With less money from the state and bounced-check funds drying up, Oklahoma district attorneys are turning to issuing tickets and putting people on probation through their offices – activities typically left to police, counties and the Department of Corrections.

Their newest effort that yields revenue is to crack down on uninsured drivers using a system that scans the license plates of hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans on roadways every year.

National Geographic

Spring rains and mild temperatures are forcing Oklahoma health officials to trap and test mosquitoes for West Nile virus earlier than normal.

The testing for the mosquito-borne virus generally begins around Memorial Day.

But Scott Meador, vector control coordinator with the Tulsa Health Department, says West Nile has been detected in the first test collections of the summer for the past two years. With a warm and wet spring, Meador says the agency decided to place traps beginning May 1.

file photo

The Bengals are facing a backlash over their decision to draft running back Joe Mixon, who punched a woman in the face while at Oklahoma.

Cincinnati added to its reputation for embracing players with troubled histories when they took Mixon in the second round on Friday night. Even before Mixon arrived in town, the choice was getting panned.

WCPO-TV posted an editorial on Saturday saying the club had gone too far this time. The editorial urged fans to stop buying Bengals tickets and instead donate the money to organizations that work to prevent violence against women.

NWS Graphic

Severe thunderstorms have toppled tree limbs and power lines and caused moderate flooding across Oklahoma. The National Weather Service issued flood watches and advisories across much of the state after thunderstorms packing strong winds dropped as much as 5 inches of rain.

The Grand River Dam Authority opened flood gates at the Dam at Disney and on the Hudson Dam near Locust Grove.

The Illinois River, Bird Creek, Caney River, Neosho River, Verdigris River and Pole Cat Creek are all at or above flood stage.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties after severe storms, flooding, strong winds and snow impacted the state.

Fallin said Saturday that the storm system has delivered widespread rain and high winds since Friday, with damage to power lines and power poles as well as trees, roofs and structures. In addition, more than 4 inches of snow has been reported in some areas of the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Google Street View

A store clerk is shot and killed near the Tulsa International Airport. It happened Friday afternoon at the S & K Food Mart on the corner of Virgin and North Sheridan.

The robber fled the scene but was tracked to the Meadow Apartments near 31st and South Garnett. That is where a stand-off with Tulsa Police took place. The Tulsa Special Operations Team fired pepper balls to get the suspect to come out of the apartment. He was taken into custody about 10:30 Friday night.

Charges are pending.

KWGS News

Severe thunderstorms have toppled tree limbs and power lines and caused minor flooding across Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service issued flood watches and advisories across much of the state Saturday after thunderstorms packing strong winds dropped as much as 5 inches of rain.

The storms disrupted power to almost 80,000 customers in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas, and firefighters reported that some roadways were blocked by uprooted trees, limbs and downed power lines.

DHS

Child welfare experts say the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is making "good faith efforts" to reduce the maltreatment of children in its foster care system.

Experts monitoring implementation of what's called the Pinnacle Plan say in a report issued Friday that DHS has reduced the abuse and neglect of children and youth in the state's care.

Oklahoma has received a $78 payment million from the tobacco industry as part of a 1999 settlement of a lawsuit against tobacco companies.

State Treasurer Ken Miller said Friday that 75 percent of the payment, or $58.5 million, went to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund for investment. The rest is split between the Legislature for health care-related appropriations and the attorney general, who enforces the settlement.

KWGS News File Photo

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that sets up a new A-F grading system for public schools that is designed to comply with a new federal education law.

The bill signed by Fallin Friday brings the state into compliance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The bill outlines several factors for grades for individual schools, including statewide tests, graduation rates and English language proficiency.

KWGS News File Photo

Is unorthodox the same as cruel and unusual punishment?

It's the central question of the current U.S. death penalty debate, highlighted by the latest execution involving a disputed sedative that appeared to involve discomfort to the inmate.

States struggling to find lethal drugs believe they've got the answer in midazolam, a sedative that's taking the place of barbiturates and anesthetics no longer available because drug manufacturers don't want them used in executions.

KWGS News File Photo

The Oklahoma legislature Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget wrapped up this week by passing 13 bills Thursday.

Altogether, the measures represent nearly $47 million in revenue.

A reworked proposal to tax pro sports tickets was among the bills. A previous proposal subjected tickets to sales tax. House Bill 2361 would generate an estimated $2.7 million by instituting a $1 fee on tickets that cost $50 or less and a $2 fee on tickets that cost more than $50.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak wants the state to lead the way in trying out new health care ideas.

That sort of innovation was the focus of a summit at OSU’s Health Sciences Center on Friday.

The daylong event featured presentations on topics like transparent pricing, using wearable devices to predict health risk and using telemedicine to help primary care doctors in underserved communities treat complex conditions.

Doak said he wants Oklahoma to be a testing ground for the best ideas.

file photo

Environmental tests on an Oklahoma creek have led to the discovery of a saltwater spill into the main source of freshwater for Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.

An Environmental Protection Agency inspector working on Bird Creek was shown a broken drainage pipe on a hillside which led to finding the saltwater spill into Sand Creek on Tuesday.

Tallgrass Preserve Director Bob Hamilton says pumper trucks are taking water out of a pond below the broken pipe and some ditches have been dug to collect or divert contaminated water from the creek until it can be pumped out.

File Photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency chief on Thursday pulled out of a Republican fundraiser after a Democratic senator raised ethics concerns.

A spokesman for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he would not be attending next week's Oklahoma Republican Party gala. Pruitt, who previously served as Oklahoma's elected attorney general, had been scheduled as the keynote speaker.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma has hit a record high with more than 62,000 offenders in the state's department of corrections system.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh says the prison system is operating at 109 percent of capacity.

"It has taken just four months for an additional 1,000 people to be included in our numbers of incarcerated, supervised and county jail backup," Allbaugh said.

State of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican state senator who is being investigated for possible misuse of campaign funds has resigned from the Oklahoma Senate.

State Sen. Kyle Loveless submitted a two-sentence letter of resignation Thursday, saying he had made "mistakes."

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater confirmed Thursday a criminal investigation is ongoing over the potential embezzlement of campaign funds. No charges have been filed.

A telephone message left with Loveless was not immediately returned.

KWGS News File Photo

Oklahoma lawmakers' deadline to pass an education budget is nearly a month behind us now.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said considering the ongoing difficulty collecting the forecasted amount of revenue, she wouldn't want the budget lawmakers would have passed April 1, anyway.

In the news:

  • Budget work is underway at the capitol, but public schools are still in the dark for planning their budgets.
  • The Oklahoma Senate approves "small loans," a short-term loan critics say preys on poor people.
  • Local immigration reform advocates join a national organization headed by tech industry leaders.

An Oklahoma coalition has joined a national immigration reform movement.

The new Oklahoma chapter of FWD.us involves business, community and faith leaders. Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Francisco Trevino said it’s important businesses take the lead because they understand the economic implications of immigration.

By 2025, three-fourths of the workforce is going to be Hispanics. What are we going to do without 11 million people that are not going to be able to work if they're not here?" Trevino said.

The state Senate approved a bill Thursday creating short-term loans known as “small loans.”

House Bill 1913 allows installment loans up to $1,500 either in a single loan or in total across multiple loans. Lenders can charge up to 17 percent interest per month, and terms are capped at 12 months.

Opponents say the finance charges on small loans end up being three to four times those allowed on installment loans known as "B loans" currently authorized by state law. In 2014, there were 77 consumer loans taken out for every 100 Oklahoma adults.

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